Residents urged to back new ‘Scamnesty’ campaign

EASTBOURNE residents are being asked to help stop scam mail with the County Councilimploring them to ‘turn them in and turn the tide’.

The message is part of the County Council’s fourth ‘Scamnesty’ campaign, run by its Trading Standards team.

Residents and businesses are being urged to hand in any scam mail they receive to their local library during February 2011.

Misleading mailings make false promises of huge bogus lottery wins or other high value prizes, but they always insist on payment to the sender before any winnings can be claimed.

Targets of these scams - often the elderly or vulnerable - can find themselves on the receiving end of wave after wave of letters, with some being sent up to 600 misleading letters a month from across the world.

Those that fall victim to the mailings can send off hundreds of pounds a month over many years and, despite the riches promised in each letter, they never win a penny.

Councillor Bob Tidy, lead member for community services, said, “These scam mailings are an absolute menace and our message is turn them in and turn the tide.

“The mailings we receive in this year’s ‘Scamnesty’ will again be analysed and the information shared with partner enforcement agencies in this country and abroad.

“This will help us to build a picture of what is going on and crackdown on the senders and their networks.

“The response so far from people in East Sussex to these campaigns has been marvellous.

“It is producing positive results as well as raising the profile of this often silent crime.

“If you have a friend or relative that you think is responding to these letters, our Trading Standards officers can be contacted and can offer to visit to offer advice and assistance.

“If you want to hand in any suspicious letters you can do so at any county council library in East Sussex throughout February.”

For further information or advice contact Consumer Direct on 08456 04 05 06.

For more general information about the work of Trading Standards please visit www.eastsussex.gov.uk/consumeradvice.